Due to fire and smoke, we have only in Europe more than 4,000 deaths and 70,000 people ending in a hospital and more than 126 billion Euros in related costs.Fire behaviour of products constitutes a major impact in multiple areas: building and construction, transport, electric and electronic engineering, furniture etc. This theme gathers maybe the largest number of standards, regulations or legislations at national level as well at international level. Especially buildings with public access such as schools, hospitals and retirement homes should be safe because they house vulnerable people.
In the past, each country in the European Union developed their own fire tests in support of its national building regulations. Consequently it has been extremely difficult to compare the data arising from these different fire tests. Manufacturers had to test in each country to sell their products.
Harmonised European classes and tests have been developed for reaction to fire performance and this European classification system has been adopted in national regulations of EU member states.
All materials used in permanent constructions should comply with the European Construction Products Directive (CPD). The CPD aims at reducing barriers to trade throughout Europe by ensuring that products tested in any member state have been tested and classified consistently.
The European Standard EN 13501 (is today common to all EU Member States. It is presented as NEN 13501 in the Netherlands, BS EN 13501 in the UK, as DIN EN 13501 in Germany etc., to include the prefix of the national standards’ body responsible for publication.
Government’s worldwide try to maintain and, where possible improve the fire safety of consumer products and public areas to help reduce fires. The role of fire-retardant materials to help this is well recognised. To ensure fire safety of buildings, all building products, materials and furnishing need to be tested for flammability and fire resistance before they can be used in construction. Not just construction materials but also decoration materials like carpets, curtains and upholstery need to comply with fire standards for usage in public buildings.
Building materials like concrete, steel, bricks, timber and stone will all burn at a high enough temperature but by treatment with fire retardant chemicals or coatings the fire resistance and fire retardant qualities can be improved.
Fire retardant treated materials are able to resist easily ignition and win time to escape from a fire. When fire retardant treated materials finally start to burn, they are designed to burn slowly. Fire retardant products like Magma Firestop® are formulated to improve the reaction to fire properties of a material and meant to prevent the starting of a fire.
Reaction to fire tests describe the early phases of fire; ignition, heat release, fire spread, smoke production, and relates to products and materials. These treated products are classified in fire classes.
For a lot of materials, fire safety is vital and test laboratories are able to serve you in assessment, classification, inspection and certification of these materials.
Whether you are involved with building construction, transportation equipment, industrial processes or offshore applications, you will need the assistance of an organisation that understands and can certify your products to be accepted throughout the world.